The Problem With Influencer Culture

These days it seems like everyone you follow on Instagram is endorsing some new product, service, or brand. With the rise of social media, lots of these brands seek out popular accounts to promote their product. In return, these influencers likely received discounted or free products/services or are paid directly for their promotion of the company. It is a new and easier way for individuals to grow their following and get compensation in return for helping promote a brand.


While this can be a good way for businesses to promote themselves more easily, it can also bring up some ethical concerns.


One of the biggest issues with influencers is whether or not we as followers should hold them to a higher standard. Once a popular Instagram account or YouTube channel starts doing promotions/partnerships/sponsorships with a brand, they are selling to their audience someone else’s product. If this product is faulty or the service is a scam in actuality, should the influencer be held accountable for endorsing the brand?


A common promotion recently under scrutiny by actress Jameela Jamil are ‘weight-loss’ teas. These teas are glorified laxatives, yet famous Instagrammers continue to post about them, claiming it made their waist so small! Should these influencers face the backlash of an untruthful product because of their sponsorship?


It feels wrong to shame someone for working and making money in whatever means they can, but it does not feel right to continue letting influencers promote things that are inherently bad either.


When a person has a large following on social media and uses their following to make money, I think we as the general population should hold these influencers accountable for what sponsorships they make.


There is no way to eliminate all ethical concerns from the brands influencers promote, but it is good to be aware of the influencers we support – based on what they support.